Back Awareness Week in October

The focus of 2015’s Back Awareness Week has been back pain in children of a school age. The “8000 Schools Campaign” aims to raise money to address back pain prevention in schools.

The Back Care charity reports that 1 in 4 secondary school students gets regular or daily back pain. Half of those that suffer with back pain report their school bag is too heavy, or too tiring. Amongst this half back pain was 10 times more common.

Problems can develop from our younger years if we don’t take proper care. A problem not identified in childhood/adolescence may become an issue in adulthood. Four out of five adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Please forward this post to any children or grandchildren where its appropriate. However it applies to us all. Here are some tips on how to reduce back strain:

  • Check your bag? Does it evenly distribute the weight you carry on your body? Do the straps dig into you? A rucksack carried with both straps across each shoulder is the ideal bag for your back. The straps should be padded. Waist and hip straps can help redistribute the pressure from your shoulders.

  • Don’t carry more than you need to? Check your bag regularly for clutter!

  • Try and avoid sitting where you can. Sitting for long periods can strain your back. Getting up and moving around regularly is ideal.

  • When you need to sit, try and sit well. So sit up straight on a chair, with your bottom to the back of the seat. Ideally the seat would support your lower back. Adding support in the small of your lower back with a rolled up jumper or jacket might help. Avoiding soft and low seats should help too.

  • Lead a generally active lifestyle. Rest is important too, but find an activity you enjoy to regularly move and strengthen your body. As well as keeping you mobile, there are obvious benefits for your heart and general well-being.

  • Be careful that your footwear doesn’t add unnecessary strain to your back. A flatter, supportive shoe is far better than a high heel to spend a long time standing in.

  • Drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet, are also very important to keep your whole body healthy, not just your muscles and joints.